Seaway Crude Pipeline Company LLC (Seaway) is committed to public safety, protection of the environment and operation of its facilities in compliance with all applicable rules and regulations. Seaway's network of pipelines falls under the regulatory oversight of the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration in the U.S. Department of Transportation. A comprehensive integrity management program has been implemented which is designed to prevent incidents and mitigate the impact of accidents. For example:
- Pipeline operating conditions are monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by personnel in control centers using a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) computer system. This electronic surveillance system gathers such data as pipeline pressures, volume and flow rates and the status of pumping equipments and valves. Whenever operating conditions change, an alarm warns the operator on duty and the condition is investigated. Both automated and manual valves are strategically placed along the pipeline system to enable the pipeline to be shutdown immediately and sections to be isolated quickly, if necessary.
- Visual inspections of Seaway's rights-of-way are conducted by air and ground on a regular basis. The right-of-way is a narrow strip of land reserved for the pipeline. Above-ground marker signs are displayed along the right-of-way to alert the public and contractors to the existence of the pipeline.
- Internal inspections are conducted periodically by passing sophisticated computerized equipment called "smart pigs" through most of the company's pipelines to confirm the wall thickness of the pipe
- The company is a member of numerous "call-before-you-dig" programs or "one-call" systems across the United States, which are designed to help the public, contractors and others identify the location of pipelines prior to excavating or digging to prevent damage to pipelines and protect the public. Seaway's public awareness program is designed to prevent third-party damage to its pipelines and the company encourages everyone to call 811 before digging
- As part of its commitment to public awareness, Seaway also distributes brochures to residents living near its pipelines that provide important contact information and instructions on what to do in case of an emergency.
- The use of cathodic protection, a technology that involves the application of an electrostatic current to the pipeline, helps prevent external corrosion, as does a protective exterior coating.
- Emergency preparedness and planning measures are in place in the event that a pipeline incident occurs. Working with local emergency response agencies on a regular basis through drills and educational initiatives helps ensure a coordinated and effective response should there be a problem
Pipelines are the safest and most efficient means of transporting and delivering natural gas and liquid petroleum products that America depends on everyday. Age is not necessarily an indicator of how safe a pipeline is. Provided that they are properly maintained and inspected on a regular basis, pipelines can last indefinitely.
Pipelines deliver plentiful supplies of the energy products that heat our homes and businesses, generate electricity, fuel our vehicles, commercial and military aircraft, and power industries that produce the goods we use everyday. There are well over two million miles of natural gas and liquid pipelines in the United States.